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Sky Blues Stars Given Driving Tips

Coventry City footballers received coaching of a different kind when they were given a hard-hitting message about the importance of safe driving.

Bereaved parent Paul Kerr was one of the people to speak to the players at the Ryton training ground to tell them of the horrors of losing his son in a car accident.

Jon Paul Kerr was killed when he was travelling in the front passenger seat of a Ford Escort which failed to stop at a junction along the road between Stoneleigh and Finham in Coventry in May 1992.

The vehicle left the road and hit a tree. Jon Paul, aged 17, took the main impact and died. The other two passengers and the driver survived.

Mr Kerr spoke to the players as part of a unique course run by Warwickshire police to make sure youngsters and companies in the county know the part they can play in making the streets safer.

It is believed to be the first time that a sports club has called in specialist help to advise their players on what they should and shouldn’t do when they get behind the wheel.

Steve Froggatt, Coventry City FCFirst team stars including Robbie Keane, Steve Froggatt and David Burrows and youth team players all listened in to sessions run by officers.

Sky Blues boss Gordon Strachan said it was important to give the footballers support because of the lifestyle they were exposed to.

He said one of the first things that many trainees did when they were signed by the club and started receiving good wages was to buy a car.

Strachan said:

 “As a club we are very aware that our responsibility to players doesn’t start and end with football.

 “The lifestyle of professional footballers is often in the spotlight and the way they behave can affect young fans who see their footballing heroes as role models.

“By participating in the road safety courses, players will not only learn about safety on the roads, but will also be delivering their own road safety messages.”

Warwickshire police merged two courses that they take around the county to give Coventry City players the information they need to become safe drivers.

The Astra project usually tours schools to tell teenagers about the different perils they face as they become drivers.

It gives them tips on buying their first car and reminds them of the maintenance they will need to carry out to make sure it is safe and legal to drive.

The players were also given information usually passed to company drivers in a project called Fleetsafe, which runs through issues including car care, motorway driving, drink driving and the procedure to follow after an accident or breakdown.

Since 1990, 521 people have been killed in road accidents in the county, and 7011 have been seriously injured. Last year 51 people lost their lives and this year seven have died following road accidents.
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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / Warwickshire Constabulary / 22 Mar 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM